This International Women’s Day we are being asked to be bold for change. Bold has two definitions in Australia, showing willingness to take risks; confidently and courageously and having a strong, vivid, or clear appearance. In Ireland it has another meaning; it is to be naughty, mischievous and badly behaved.
Ms Kun calls on women to be all three forms of bold – strong, courageous, and to even risk being called badly behaved by demanding the right to be free from violence, poverty and discrimination.
WIRE CEO, Ms Julie Kun said the statistics tell a story of inequality sexism and misogyny;
- 16% gender pay gap between men and women
- Senior female managers earn, on average, $93,000 less than their male equivalents
- 15.7% of women in Australia have experienced economic abuse (Jozica Kutin, Roslyn Russell and Mike Reid 2017)
- 1 in 5 women have had an experience of sexual violence
- 71 women killed as a result a violence in 2016 (Destroy the Joint)
Ms Kun said “Every day at WIRE we hear from women who are doing so much to survive but they need all of us to be bold as individuals, as community members, as a society and as policy decision makers so they can live free of violence discrimination and poverty.”
Ms Kun said, “WIRE is the only Victorian Women’s service that provides support, information and referrals to any woman on any issue so we get to hear it all. Just this week we have heard from a woman disclosing violence for the first time after 30 plus years of abuse, another drowning in a mountain of debt accumulated by an abusive ex-partner and women after half a life time of caring for kids and working low paid jobs having no savings and now facing homelessness”.
Ms Kun points to some positives, “It is has been great to see the Women’s AFL football receive such acceptance and the Victorian Government launch its first Gender Equality Strategy.” But Ms Kun also said. “We need to do more, we need a bold leap forward towards gender equality. We need every women and every man to point out the sexism they see and boldly say, No. This will not do. We can no longer say that it is just the way it is. We need to embrace change that improves women’s safety and financial security such as paid family violence leave, decent wages for feminised professions and supporting and extending programs that promote respectful relationships and gender awareness. Why? Because Women deserve better, our community deserves better, our country deserves better.”
WIRE Women’s Support Line is available 9 – 5 pm Monday to Friday – Any woman any issue 1300 134 130 www.wire.org.au